The Buffalo Bisons like to use all the tools in baseball's offensive tool box.
On Monday night they used a little bit of everything, most importantly a passed ball with a runner on third in the eighth inning, to pull out an 8-6 win over the Syracuse Chiefs at Coca-Cola Field.
The game was tied, 6-6, in the eighth when Jonathan Diaz drew a one-out walk. A single from Roemon Fields was bobbled by the rightfielder and allowed Diaz to take third and Fields to reach second. A passed ball, charged to Syracuse catcher Pedro Severino, allowed Diaz to score from third to break the tie. Fields then scored on a ground out for an insurance run.
"I think a lot of guys just battled up there today," Diaz said. "A couple guys got hit by pitches. I got hit by one with the bases loaded and got an RBI there. I was able to draw and walk and Fields did a great job today with clutch hitting there."
Ending the skid: The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Bisons, who fell four games back of IL North leaders Lehigh Valley on their road trip. "It's a long season and you know you're going to hit a stretch that's tough," Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said. "Now you see how they react to it. Everybody struggles whether it's at the plate or on the mound. It's easy to play this game when you're doing well. When you're struggling, how do you react to that? These guys? I'm pretty confident they're going to react the right way."
Tough start: Jarrett Grube gave up two walks and bunt single to start the game. After a strike out, Clint Robinson's single to the gap in right centerfield scored two runs, putting the Chiefs up, 2-0. A fielder's choice from Pedro Severino gave Syracuse a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Big inning: The Herd scored six runs in the third inning. It started when Christian Lopes scored on a single by Darrell Ceciliani to put the Bisons on the board. A pair of walks loaded the bases and with one out, Raffy Lopez singled up the middle to score two runs and tie the game, 3-3.
The scoring continued with two outs and two runners on base when Syracuse starter A.J. Cole hit two consecutive Bisons batters. Jonathan Diaz got credit for the RBI when he was hit on the arm with the bases loaded, putting the Herd up, 4-3. Roemon Fields then extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-out, two-run double.
About that six-run third inning: Diaz said that "sometimes it's just contagious," when talking about the offense that inning. "Everybody gets a hit and you go up there a little more aggressive and sometimes those are the kind of things that happen. We needed one of those innings. It's been a while since we had one of those so it was good to see."
Tie game again: Syracuse scored three runs in the fifth thanks to four straight hits including an RBI single for Rafael Bautista and a two-run single for Andrews Stevenson.
First pitch: Hall of Famer Tim Raines will toss the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday. Raines was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January and will be formally inducted this summer. He played 23 seasons and was a seven-time All-Star. In 2,502 career games he hit .294 with 713 extra-base hits while driving in 980 runs. He was a member of the New York Yankees 1996 World Series team.
Counting the stands: The official paid attendance was 4,820.
Up next: The series continues at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday with Buffalo righty Cesar Valez (1-0, 0.00) scheduled to start against Syracuse righty Kyle McGowin (1-2, 6.39).